MANILA, Philippines – Canada-based insurance giant Sun Life Financial is optimistic it could double its income from its Asia Pacific operations to $250 million in 2015 from $129 million this year as it continues to expand in the region.
In an interview on the sidelines of the 14th Asia Pacific Life Insurance Congress (APLIC), Sun Life Financial Asia president Kevin Strain said the earnings assumption would be supported by the projected double-digit growth in sales in the region over the next three years.
Sun Life’s interests in Asia include the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India and China.
This year, Strain said they would expand operations in Malaysia and Vietnam.
“We are now in seven countries in Asia. We added Vietnam and Malaysia. We are now in four ASEAN countries – Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. We have great expectations. The ASEAN region has been growing so quickly, growing middle class, growing GDP. We think, there’s an incredible opportunity to get real growth in our business in Asia, in particular in our ASEAN business,” he said.
Strain said among its businesses in ASEAN, the Philippines has the strongest potential for growth.
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“We are most proud of our business here in the Philippines. It is such a strong business. It has a great brand position. We have number one position in terms of insurance sales, number two for mutual funds, and a really great leadership platform to show to the rest of our business across Asia,” he said.
Sun Life has over 4,000 agents in the Philippines.
Sun Life Financial Philippines president and CEO Rizalina Mantaring, for her part, said they expect more than 40-percent growth in premiums for 2013.
“We are very positive about the future of the Philippines. We’ve seen the growth over the past three years has been tremendous. Not only us, we are happy to say that the entire industry has grown over the past three years, averaging 30 to 40 percent per year. That’s good news for us and even better news is that we see that growth continuing since the start of the year as you have seen the stock market has grown more than 10 percent, and sales this year has been tremendous, even higher than previous year’s sales,” she said.
Mantaring noted that life insurance normally prosper along with the country’s economy.
“Life insurance takes off once a country reaches a certain point of the GDP,” she said.
On top of GDP growth, the government, she said, has done a good job in implementing a lot of reforms, such as increase transparency and improve good governance.
In 2013, Mantaring said they hope to mirror the same level in 2012, as the country’s economy continues to grow.
This year, the country’s economic managers are projecting gross domestic product (GDP) to grow about six to seven percent.